Can You Put Paper In The Microwave? (Answered)


There are numerous circumstances in which you might want to put paper in the microwave, including when it is sheets of paper, a wet book, paper towels, or paper plates and cups.

Can you put paper in the microwave? When the paper is flat and microwaved, it is safe, but you should always keep a close eye on it. Paper towels, plates, and cups are all examples of this. However, when scrunched up paper can easily combust in the microwave and set on fire.

Paper will be discussed in this article, along with whether or not it is safe to microwave it. Continue reading to learn more about whether it’s okay to microwave paper.

Can You Put Paper In The Microwave?

Well, the short answer to this is that it depends on the type of paper you’re using in the microwave. The intended use of the paper product must also be considered.

When used inside a microwave, the fragile, thin paper poses a risk of catching fire because the thin layers heat up quickly and have a low density, which can cause the paper to catch fire after a few seconds. Although thicker paper can be heated, microwaved food is highly likely to cross-contaminate with chemicals.

  • Newspaper: Being thin, the paper can’t withstand intense heat for very long before catching fire. In addition, food contaminated with newspaper ink can be very unhealthy to eat.
  • Paper towel: Food in the microwave is frequently covered with paper towels. As a result of the food’s moisture absorbing into the paper, the risk of fire is reduced.
  • Parchment paper: Because parchment paper is made for use in ovens, you can microwave them with little danger.
  • Tissue paper: Toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels are all strictly prohibited. Because it is so thin, the paper easily catches fire when exposed to high temperatures.
  • Utensils: Paper cups and other paper products are typically thick and difficult to catch fire. Without having to worry about them catching fire, they can be used inside an oven for extended periods of time.
  • Wax paper: Wax papers can be microwaved without issue because they were designed to be used in an oven.

Paper thickness, which significantly affects the risk of catching fire, is the key to microwaving it safely. Make sure you don’t microwave paper products for longer than 5 minutes because doing so can burn the edges and make them more likely to catch fire.

Fire is a risk that cannot be avoided, but it is also important to talk about the risk of chemical contamination when heating food that comes into contact with paper products.

Is It Safe To Microwave Paper?

Be extremely careful when handling food that has been microwaved in paper because the paper can become extremely hot. To safely remove hot items from a microwave, it is advised to wear gloves.

After being removed from the oven, the paper’s surface typically continues to be hot for a while. Before using the paper container, you should allow it to visually cool off.

Your choice of paper will determine whether or not it can be used safely in the oven. Paper that is prone to tearing or breaking is generally not a good choice for a microwave.

On the other hand, thick paper that can withstand greater pressure and doesn’t tear easily can be used inside of an oven. To avoid the paper drying out and catching fire, paper should always be used sparingly and with caution.

Read More: Can You Heat Up Water for Tea in the Microwave?

How Long Can Paper Be Microwaved?

Despite the fact that there is no specified time for microwaving paper, you might not want to microwave it for more than five minutes on regular food bowls and holders.

In most cases, 5 minutes is sufficient for the food to reheat and become ready for consumption. If you microwave a piece of paper for longer than five minutes, the thin parts may burn.

On the other hand, parchment paper and wax paper are made for use in ovens. They can be utilized inside of an oven for baking and other types of cooking.

More than 30 to 45 minutes at a time can be spent using cooking papers. These particular types of paper are perfect for heating in a microwave because they are coated with a special wax that enables the paper surface to get heated easily without catching fire.

Paper In The Microwave

Tips For Microwaving Paper Safely

In contrast to some paper products, which can be heated in the microwave without risk, others may catch fire or have chemical bonds break, which could contaminate food.

  • To lessen the chance of a fire starting because of extreme heat fluctuations, microwave paper products on medium heat or 50% power.
  • Make sure the oven is set to 176 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius. For the paper to warm up without burning, this temperature is ideal.
  • Only use substantial bowls and trays when baking, and always take out any tissues or napkins that may have been lying around the food.
  • To speed up cooking time by capturing steam and more effectively heating the food throughout, try covering the food with a microwaveable cover.
  • When taking the food out, always wear heat-resistant gloves. The paper containers’ surface may be extremely warm, emit steam, and result in burn injuries if touched with bare hands.
  • Never microwave previously used paper containers. When heated, paper becomes brittle and dry. Even thick paper can catch fire after repeated use.

Can You Set Paper On Fire In The Microwave?

Is it actually possible to ignite paper in a microwave, and if so, how?

I’ve found that it’s very likely to catch paper on fire in the microwave through my own experiments with paper, paper towels, and cardboard.

In the microwave, crumpled paper is more likely to catch fire than flat paper. The compressed areas generate more heat, which is sufficient to ignite the entire piece of paper.

The 13-year-old sister of my partner put her leftover McDonald’s chips in a bag from the fast food chain and microwaved them for four minutes. THE WHOLE BAG STARTED FIRE!

The top of the bag was probably scrunched up, and 4 minutes is unquestionably long enough for paper to catch fire.

I crumpled up a brown paper bag and microwaved it for my own tests. The paper began to smoke after just one minute, and at the two-minute mark, it caught fire completely.

So yes, it is absolutely possible to ignite paper in a microwave.

What Can You Microwave?

How many things can be microwaved without harm might surprise you. The following items can typically be used in a microwave, though you should always double-check labels or owner’s manuals.

Glass And Ceramics

Although crystal and some hand-made pottery are exceptions, glass and ceramic dishes are typically safe to use in the microwave. As long as it doesn’t have metallic paint or inlays, you should be safe using glass or ceramic plates, bowls, cups, mugs, mixing bowls, or bakeware.

Plastic, Including Tupperware

While some plastic containers can be used in the microwave without harm, there are some you should stay away from. It is never advisable to microwave food that has been packaged in single-use plastic, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and other items. The same rule applies to plastic take-out containers that don’t expressly state that they are microwave-safe. Similarly, avoid using plastic containers that are cracked, worn out, or discolored. The best plastic containers to use in a microwave are typically longer-lasting ones like Tupperware.

Paper Plates

However, some disposable tableware is covered in a thin layer of plastic and cannot be microwaved. Ensure that a paper plate or bowl is clearly marked as microwave-safe before you put it in the microwave.

Paper Towels

The majority of paper towels are microwaveable. In fact, you can cover some foods with a paper towel to prevent them from spitting during cooking or reheating. If you do microwave with a paper towel, it’s best to use shorter intervals so you can check the food and the towel more frequently. Recycled paper towels, printed paper towels, paper lids, and brown paper bags shouldn’t be used because they could be dangerous to your safety.

Ziploc Bags

According to Ziploc, their food storage bags are safe for defrosting or reheating foods in microwaves, “when label directions are followed.” If you prefer a different brand of bag storage, make sure it is microwave-safe and follow all instructions. Keep the bag out of the microwave if you are unsure of the type of bag you are using or if you don’t have access to the instructions.

What Can’t You Microwave?

There are a lot of items that can be placed in your microwave, but there are also a lot that cannot. It’s best to avoid using the following items in the microwave and to switch any food or liquid in them to microwave-safe containers.


It must be noted on the packaging that certain varieties of Styrofoam are safe to microwave. It is best to avoid using Styrofoam in the microwave if there is no label indicating that it is safe for use in the appliance or if you are unsure of what kind you are using.


Can you microwave cardboard the same way you can paper plates and towels? Both are made of paper, after all. Sadly, cardboard sometimes contains glues, waxes, and other substances that can make it a danger in the microwave. Even worse, some cardboard takeout boxes have metal fasteners or handles that can spark and start a fire. By removing food from cardboard containers and placing it on microwave-safe plates or bowls, you can keep your microwave (and your family) safe.

Metals Including Stainless Steel And Aluminum Foil

Never put anything made of or containing steel, iron, copper, or another hard metal in your microwave. A fire might start if metal surfaces reflect microwaves, which raises the temperature inside the appliance. Remove the food from any leftovers that are being stored in metal containers and put them in microwave-safe containers instead.

It can be challenging when using aluminum foil. Although foil can technically be microwaved, its surface must remain as flat as possible. Wrinkles or crumpled foil can cause “arcing”—that is, it can cause electric sparks to shoot across the surface of the foil, potentially damaging your microwave or causing a fire. Aluminum foil will reflect radio waves, so food wrapped in it may not cook or reheat properly in the microwave. Because every microwave is unique, check your owner’s manual or learn more about how microwave functions to find out if aluminum foil is safe to use. Whenever possible, keep all metals out of your microwave.

Final Thoughts

Your complete guide to using paper inside a microwave is available in the aforementioned article. Using paper inside a microwave oven requires caution, and you should always check the paper’s quality before using it.

Strong utensils and thick bowls offered by fast food restaurants can be microwaved with some degree of safety, but glues and adhesives used to make a waterproof seal can become toxic when heated beyond a safe temperature. As a result, paper cups can only be used to heat water for a brief period of time.

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